DAMASCUS, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Syrian foreign ministry on Saturday dismissed as "provocative" statements made recently by Turkish officials that the NATO may have to become involved in Syria, saying that such statements aim to further aggravate the situation in Syria and systematically undermine bilateral ties.
In a statement carried by state-run SANA news agency, Syria's foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu run counter to the ceasefire plan brokered by UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan.
Annan's six-point peace plan calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.
Erdogan has recently warned that the NATO may have to become involved in the Syria conflict if it continues to spill across the border into Turkey.
Makdissi said "it's worrying that Erdogan is threatening to bring in NATO to protect his country's borders with Syria while the issue of protecting the joint borders doesn't require more than a genuine commitment to the provisions of Annan's plan and to adhere fast to the policy of good neighborhood which Erdogan has completely stayed away from" when he hosted armed groups that do not believe in the political process.
Turkey hosts as many as 24,000 Syrian refugees, including hundreds of army defectors. Turkish leaders have also floated the idea of imposing a buffer zone inside Syria to manage the influx of refugees.
"We don't want anybody to shed tears on the destiny of any Syrian as the doors of the Syrians' country are open for them to return," the spokesman said, adding that Erdogan should instead exert all-out efforts to help the Syrians to return home "and we are ready to cooperate with the Turkish Red Crescent to achieve that goal."
Syria would remain committed to maintain the best relationships with the Turkish people, the spokesman concluded.